Okay, the Puppies

Most of you readers already feel sorry for me for having to live my life surrounded by the furry rascals. You are already aware that there are multiple rascals living in my home and eating my groceries at any given time. Well, they are not exactly eating the same groceries I eat, but I work hard to BUY the groceries they do eat…so I guess they really are MY groceries. You get the idea.

What you might not know is that even when I leave my house and visit, say my brother’s house for a few hours, there are still furry rascals with which to contend. They are no less rascals than the ones I see everyday.

Here are a few photos to help illustrate the kind of foolishness that surrounds me. To start, inside my brother’s house, we have Dolly. She like every wienie dog I’ve ever met is a hopeful opportunist. This is illustrated here as she is caught on camera scouting the dining table for groceries not being carefully watched.

Moving outside to the backyard, we get a glimpse of Jack, the black Lab. You might be familiar with the well-bred capabilities of this breed to hunt and retrieve. This boy, however, is just a little over-the-top. He is focused…in a very INTENSE sort of way. All day, in the 95-degree heat, he hunted. He stalked from place to place…from up to down to up again…in my brother’s multi-level backyard. Periodically, Jack came trotting poolside carrying an object of retrieval. Creepy. We aren’t really sure what he looks like without something in his mouth…and just what IS that in his mouth?

Here’s Dolly again. She really is so much more than hopeful and opportunistic. She also has an anxiety disorder. I have observed that these kinds of characteristics and behaviors…in dogs are referred to as “cute” and “adorable” by their owners. In this photo, you can’t see the obsessive barking, fretting, and concern that preceeded her leap into the pool to save Cody (yes, Cody our baseball hero).

She jumped in and swam continuously until we saw signs of exhaustion and put her back inside (where she climbed up on the table and finished our lunch leftovers).

Back at home, the behavior is even more disturbing. Gus seems to be developing quite a glamour complex. Either that…or he’s trying to conceal his identity.

Why would he want to conceal his identity? Well, I’m not sure (because I didn’t actually witness the deed), but I think he and Joey switched toe nails. As a reminder, Joey = small dog and Gus = big dog. Yet here are Gus’ toe nails…

…and here are Joey’s nails. If you give furry rascals too much free time, this is the kind of silliness that comes of it.

Finally, here is the most disturbing behaviour of all (remember friends, I LIVE with these beasts every day). As best I can tell, Santa was checking up on us to see whether we were being “naughty or nice” and…well…I’ll come out and say it.

Gus ate him.

And just because he LOOKS sorry, don’t you believe it.

Not The Puppies

Much to my distress, it seems the most popular of my blog entries are those on the topic of the furry rascals. In fact, a significant portion of my readership has requested another feature on “the puppies”. Yes, I am a cyclist and think what we really need is more photos of my bike in some Denton County destination, but deep down inside, I am a ham. I hate to admit it, but I can be swayed by popular opinion. So there will be a feature on the stinkin’ furry rascals. Not this time, mind you, but very soon.

I think there is probably something on puppies deep inside me, and it’s trying to get out, but something else bubbled to the top first. You might say circumstances just weren’t right for puppies today. Instead, today’s topic is “not the puppies” but “circumstances”. How ironic.

The circumstances to which I refer are those life events that we can’t control. To be sure, we have direct control over some things. We even have an influence (perhaps indirect control) over other things in our lives. There are events, however, that happen and have an affect on us, that we can not control.

The affects of circumstances vary. Sometimes they are mildly annoying (like having to wait for the entry on the furry rascals) or circumstances of good fortune (like finding an empty parking space near the door of the mall). Other times they can be gravely serious, painfully frustrating, or intensely frightening. The point is that circumstances happen to us all. Knowing this, shouldn’t we be as prepared to deal with the worst as we are the best?

Forgive my simple question. I certainly understand that bad circumstances are more difficult than good fortune. I also understand that bad circumstances can be monumental and life altering. If we survive them, they might even leave scars. Believe me, I know. So I don’t want to minimize the magnitude of the challenge. Even so, I maintain it is how we deal with circumstances that is key.

Allow me to use an example from the sea. The Sea of Galilee, that is (Mark 4:35-41). Jesus, being tired, gave his disciples a task. “Let us go over to the other side,” He said before laying down for a nap. Apparently, the disciples began their task well. But along came circumstances and they were of the frightening kind. The bible says “…there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.” When bad circumstances come along and interfere with my life, I might be annoyed, frustrated, irritated, or (as in this example) I might be terrified. I might ask God the same question the disciples did on that day, “…do You not care that we are perishing?”

Of course He cared. He had a plan and a purpose for them and He met their needs. It just wasn’t in the way they expected. After He calmed the sea He had a question for them, “…how is it that you have no faith?”. Perhaps we should see that faith is important when dealing with those monumental circumstances.

I don’t think that faith would have prevented the rough seas on that day. In fact, I doubt it…and I doubt that faith in Him is some kind of shield to insulate us from all horrible circumstances. Instead, I think He is asking us to work through our circumstances, no matter how life altering, clinging to our faith in Him. It might be excruciatingly difficult, but we can have confidence, companionship, and consolation. When we come out of the storm, experience tells me that we will find that we (like those disciples) will have greater insight about the nature of God.

“Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?” Excellent question.